Gardening program at Frost Manor is curbing agitation for residents with cognitive impairment

Frost Manor

The program, which was created by the home’s BSO team, is particularly having a positive impact on a resident who wanders

An indoor gardening program created by Frost Manor’s Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) team that’s aimed at curbing agitation in residents with cognitive impairment is making a positive impact, especially on one resident.

As winter was coming to a close, the Lindsay long-term care home’s BSO team learned that some residents enjoyed gardening and were looking forward to spring coming so they could get outside and spend time in the garden. Among these was a resident who sometimes wanders and tries to leave the home.

Working with the life enrichment team, BSO team members bought some work shelves, seeds and containers for planting. Team members set up the shelves and put the containers on them. The team then got residents to plant seeds to grow mint, basil, garlic and chives. The plants are located in one of the lounges near a large window for sunlight.

Some of the residents were given watering cans and a watering schedule. The resident who wanders showed particular interest and is now watering the plants regularly and tending to their needs, explains registered practical nurse Justin Hills, the BSO team lead.

After the resident tends to the plants, he often tells team members what he did and speaks with pride, Justin says.

“This program provides an extra activity and a meaningful task for residents to complete, and residents feel a sense of pride and meaning when they come and tell us about what they have done,” Justin tells The OMNIway.

Since the program has started, the resident has not had as many incidents of wandering or packing his bags and wanting to leave, Justin adds.

The program has an added benefit: the garlic and herbs grown by the residents will be used by kitchen staff to make meals and snacks.

When the weather gets warmer, the plan is to move the plants outdoors, Justin says.

BSO is a provincial initiative to help enhance quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that cause agitation. The funding, which is provided to long-term care homes through Ontario’s 14 LHINs, is largely put towards staff education.

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